How’s it going over there? “There” meaning the place that holds so much laughter and good cheer. Excitement, good stories, connections. It all happens there, the place that extroverts join together in unison in their extroversion.
I remain on the outside, an observer, a sideline-extraordinaire.
I am an introvert.
My happy place is an empty room, an empty bathroom, a quiet backyard.
My mood soars when I hear the key in the lock, representing all other human beings leaving me home alone. That aloneness is blissful.
I love being alone. My inner world is complex and miles long, and it takes me hours to travel the length of it. I savor every moment that I get to lose myself within myself, take the side roads and look at the scenery.
It’s how I work.
I understand myself.
But that doesn’t stop the introvert guilt from seeping in.
Why do I not enjoy spending hours on end with my dearest friends? With my family?
Why do I always need to escape, to find solitude for even a brief few moments of recovery?
Because it sounds incredible.
Your crazy stories.
Your raucous laughter.
Your late night parties.
Your interest in late nights.
It sounds like you’re living it up, and in comparison, it seems like I’m living it down.
But the way you seek to go out and chase the parties, I yearn to stay in with a book.
To many, I appear to completely open. Until they get to know me.
I have several personas I give to the world and each of them are me yet none of them are actually me.
Most often is my extroverted mask.
That mask jokes around, talks a lot, keeps a whole lot under wraps and keeps smiling.
That me is the me that most people get to know.
That me cracks completely when it gets to be too much.
That me pushes the real me over the edge.
Because everyone needs energy, and my way of accessing it is by connecting to myself and getting away from external distractions.
When I try to fake it, when I try to act extroverted because I feel as if that is what is required of me, I sever my access point. My path to genuine happiness and full energy is ignored and pushed away.
It builds and builds and builds until it becomes a dangerous explosive, and either it’ll just destroy me for a short time or it will hurt others around me and that’s unfair to all.
Why am I writing this letter?
Extroverts, I am envious of you. I am envious of your ease and comfort in the big wide world. I am envious of your epic adventurous stories. I am envious that you can have such a traditional good time and nobody blinks an eyelash at your idea of an enjoyable night. I am saddened that I am envious. I am frustrated that I have to convince people of my introversion, that people are insulted by my unwillingness to spend an extended amount of time with them, that I have to defend my obvious thrill in a night home alone.
I am frustrated that I have to convince myself that it’s okay to be an introvert. It’s okay to be the way I am. It’s okay to have to recharge this way.
It will makes things harder. It will make things more complex and often painful. But it’s okay.
I am writing this letter to vent and also to inform you that while you are having your wild good time and begging, cajoling and joking around, saying: “come on, you’re so boring, come out with us,” I am closing up inside, and my mask is going on. Because I want to spend time with you. But I just can’t come out every night, unless you want to see me cry.
Sometimes I have to put my hands out full stop and disappear.
The mask is hot and stuffy and it makes me cry hot tears to be in it for too long.
So listen, dear extroverts.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
I find great joy in being your friend or family member.
But I am an intense introvert, and that has to be okay. Until you understand that my desire to be alone has nothing to do with you, I will be unable to rid myself of the guilt that permeates my alone time.
I am I.
You are you.
Let’s accept it and meet halfway.
I may need to take a few breaks, but I’d love to hang out with you.
An introvert of fantastic proportions